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John Neal's Comments About

Daniel Clement Colesworthy

In his book, "Portland Illustrated," published in 1874, John Neal wrote about the Portland poet, publisher, Boston bookseller and former newspaperman Daniel Clement Colesworthy as follows. This from page 78:


"one of the most amiable, persevering, and, on several accounts, decidedly successful of our writers, who are counted among the poets.

"But much, everything perhaps, will depend upon the definition of poetry. No two persons ever agree upon the subject. Poetry, of course, may be serious or playful -- with the playfulness of old age or youth -- sublime or tender, and therefore questions will constantly arise, and a difference of opinion prevail among the well-educated, as to what constitutes poetry.

"Tried by one of these towering standards, Colesworthy is not a poet -- at best, only a versifier. But, if tried by another and somewhat lower standard, like that which settles the rank of Dr. Watts, Wesley, Mrs. Barbauld, or Hannah Moore, Colesworthy deserves the reputation of a poet.

"Some of his little pieces are tender, touching and beautiful -- and of a character to be remembered, and many of them have been republished abroad, with evident favor.

"To him, I have always understood, until within a few days, we owed our Transcript, a family newspaper of uncommon merit, now in the hands of Mr. Elwell -- but of late, we are told that the Transcript originated with Mr. Charles P. Ilsley, one of our Portland editors and story-tellers, and one of our best.

"Soon after the Transcript appeared, we had occasional fugitive pieces, and after awhile, 'Opening Buds,' and then, year after year, other collections of what may be called his harvesting, many of which have appeared in our leading religious and secular papers and magazines; and just now, since the death of his wife, with whom he had lived forty years or so -- one of the most amiable women of her day -- he has begun, we hear, another series which will soon be issued.

"To Mr. Griffin we are indebted for the following list of Colesworthy's works:

  1. Address to the People of Color in Portland, 1838.
  2. Happy Deaths, 1840.
  3. Touch at the Times, 1840.
  4. Chronicles of Casco Bay, 1850.
  5. Old Bureau, 1861.
  6. Group of Children, 1865.
  7. Hints on Common Politeness, 1867.
  8. All the Year, 1871.
  9. Opening Buds -- omitted by Mr. Griffin.
  10. Common Incidents, also omitted.

"And he has now in preparation, Master Chase's Scholars, which they say will soon be put to press.

"The modesty of the man, his exceeding conscientiousness and gentleness of temper, which endear him to all who are personally acquainted with him, will render his contributions to our literature acceptable, come how and when they may, and we may hope that his life may be lengthened to a ripe old age, and his great usefulness greatly augmented."

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